QuickBooks is an effective accounting system for many companies. But our clients consistently ask us, “When do I need a new accounting system?,” and our answer is usually, “It depends!”

Unfortunately, there is not one specific trigger, such as a budget threshold, asset size, or type of entity, that signals it’s time to upgrade an accounting system. We’ve seen simple businesses with a $20 million budget effectively use QuickBooks, and we’ve seen businesses with a $5 million budget upgrade to a more robust system in order to meet complex reporting requirements. The decision to explore a new accounting or ERP system is a combination of factors where the benefits of change outweigh the financial cost, staff time, and perceived pain of change.

If any of the following situations apply to your distribution company, specifically if you’re a wholesale distributor, it may be time to upgrade your accounting system:

Financial Reporting

The company’s management, board of directors, committees, external auditor, tax advisor, and/or banker has suggested the financial reporting is not adequate for oversight and decision making. Or staff are finding there is an overreliance on spreadsheets to support financial processes and reporting. There may be an opportunity for real-time robust reporting and dashboards within a new system, which includes standard templates and the ability to customize reports.


Accounting staff find they are spending a significant amount of time working outside of QuickBooks in Excel or using a paper process to manually track financial information. There may be an opportunity to gain better visibility, especially with inventory management and tracking, in a new accounting system. This functionality will allow for more in-depth analysis of the business by slicing and dicing that data according to your key performance indicators.


Recognizing the company needs the ability to assign permissions or access to the accounting system based on roles. This will limit user activity and visibility depending on their role within the company. The access can be set by activity, module, and/or entity. A new system would also give you access to true cloud infrastructure that can be accessed from anywhere with rigorous login rules and two-step verification.


The company continues to increase sales, has expanded operations to multiple locations, and is struggling to track sales by locale and maintain optimum inventory levels. There may be an opportunity for multi-location tracking and reporting in a new accounting system, so you know what you have, what you sold, and what it’s all worth for overall tax compliance and the financial health of your business. In addition, there may also be an opportunity to improve inventory management using third-party integrations for e-commerce and supply chain optimization for a complete view of your business. As your wholesale distribution company grows, make sure you and your finance team embrace technology and innovation.

In Conclusion

While it may seem simple to look up the top three-to-five accounting systems commonly used, functional requirements gathering is the best use of time and money. This first step will help determine if it makes sense to change in the short-term or to put a plan in place to identify triggers for a longer-term change.

If your wholesale distribution company is going through some growing pains and starting to think about a new accounting system, contact us to learn more about the next steps in putting together a business case.

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This article contains general information only and should not be construed as accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should engage a qualified professional advisor.